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Six amateurs ready to chase history at 150th Open Championship
13 Jul 2022
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: British Open Championship, St. Andrews - Old Course

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The 150th playing of the Open Championship is set to begin this Thursday at the Home of Golf, the Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland where six amateurs are included in the field of the last major championship of the season.

Exempt amateurs Filippo Celli (European Amateur champion), Aaron Jarvis (Latin America Amateur champion), Keita Nakajima (McCormack Medal winner) and Aldrich Potgieter (British Amateur champion) will join qualifiers Sam Bairstow and Barclay Brown in the quest for the Silver Medal as low amateur.

Three amateurs have won the Open Championship on six occasions, including John Ball (1890, Prestwick), Harold Hilton (1892, Muirfield and 1897, Royal Liverpool) and Bobby Jones (1926, Royal Lytham and St. Annes; 1927, St. Andrews; 1930, Royal Liverpool).

However, it was just seven years ago at St. Andrews when amateur Paul Dunne was tied the lead heading into the final round, only to finish tied for 30th following a final round 78. Two years later, the Irishman posted his first European Tour win at the British Masters, where he clipped Rory McIlroy by three strokes after a final round 61.

Here's a look at the six amateurs who will be competing in the 150th Open Championship this week at St. Andrews.

Filippo Celli, Italy


Celli punched his ticket to St. Andrews by winning the European Amateur Championship at El Saler in Spain last month. Ranked 149th in the amateur game at the time, the Rome golfer opened with a dazzling 8-under par 64 and emerged from a five-way tie for the lead on the final day to win the title with a one-stroke victory over Dane Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen.

Aaron Jarvis, Caymen Islands


Listed at 1,669th on the World Amateur Golf Rankings at the time, Jarvis pulled out a dramatic victory at the Latin America Amateur Championship in the Dominican Republic back in January when he outlasted four players in a tie for second to become the first player from the Cayman Islands to claim an LAAC title. As a result, the UNLV player became the first competitor from his home country to compete in the Masters and the Open Championship.

Keita Nakajima, Japan


The Mark H. McCormack Medal winner earned his exemption into the Championship last August as the No. 1 player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, a position he has held for nearly 75 weeks. Nakajima already has a victory on the Japan Golf Tour, winning the Panasonic Open last year. In his PGA TOUR debut at the ZOZO Championship last October, won by his idol Matsuyama, he finished a respectable tied for 28th.

Aldrich Potgieter, South Africa


Potgieter became the second-youngest winner in the 127-year history of the Amateur Championship in June when he beat England’s Sam Bairstow 3&2 in the 36-hole final at Royal Lytham and St Annes. He was also only the third South African to lift the trophy following Bobby Cole in 1966 – he was just 18 and the youngest-ever at the time – and Jovan Rebula four years ago. It was Potgieter’s fourth win of the year – three in his home country and one in Australia. As well as The Open there will be places waiting for him in next year’s US Open and, by tradition, The Masters at Augusta National.

Sam Bairstow, England


The Englishman came through the 36-hole Final Qualifying event at St Annes Old Links for the second consecutive year. Bairstow finished runner-up to South African Aldrich Potgieter at the The 127th Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes Amateur Championship a month ago. In the championship match, Bairstow was seven down after 12 holes, but cut the lead to two with four to go before losing 3&2. The lefty won the 2021 English Men's Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship (Brabazon Trophy) and came up just short in his title defense this year, finishing fourth. Bairstow has played the Links Trophy three times at the Old Course and has never shot over par.

Barclay Brown, England


The Stanford product and GB&I Walker Cup team member posted a three-stroke victory at the 36-hole final qualifying tournament at Hollinwell on June 28. He opened with a 4-under par 68 and followed up with a level par 72 to be only one of two amateurs to make it to St Andrews as qualifier.

ABOUT THE British Open

The most coveted trophy in the game and one of the most iconic in all of sport: more commonly referred to as the Claret Jug. Within minutes of winning the British Open, the "Champion Golfer of the World" gets his name engraved on that cup, and a place in golfing history.

Amateurs have played an important role in the tournament over the years, with players like Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, and more recently Alfie Plant stepping into the international limelight with their golfing performances.

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